The Journey of the Magi


T.S. Eliot

‘A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kiking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.


Dear Friends,

My very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year!

I will be on holiday for a couple weeks and return after Epiphany.

John W. Greenleaf


Will Rome Discipline Him?

(As reported in The Tablet , 22/29 December)

THE ARCHBISHOP of Munich, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, has said that intensive reflection is needed on the issue of women’s ordination.

Answering questions put by the 250 pupils of the Mary Ward School at Munich/ Nymphenburg, where he gave the first of six catechetical sessions he is holding during the Year of Faith, Cardinal Marx said the issue “leaves many questions open.”

Asked for his views on women’s ordination, Cardinal Marx replied: “I can understand when people say they cannot comprehend one or the other argument. Questions always remain. We must go on thinking about this intensively. Perhaps we have not yet come to the end of the road we set out on together.”

The cardinal pointed out that men and women have the same equal dignity and that when Jesus had called God “Father” it was not in the gender sense. It was only right that women should have leading positions in the Church, he underlined, noting that three of the seven heads of department in the Archdiocese of Munich were women.

In his class, which was on the Apostolic Creed, Cardinal Marx emphasized that faith was a gift that one could only ask for and not obtain by force. “That is why it is so important for us to express our faith together. No one can say ‘I have never doubted,” the cardinal stressed.

One wonders what the German-cardinal-become-pope thinks about all of this…….

In any event we do indeed move forward…….


Bishop Robert Morlino Bullies Madison Women


These days as we move closer to Christmas, Robert Morlino, former Jesuit and Bishop of Madison, Wisconsin, is acting more and more like a theological Ebenezer Scrooge.

Two Madison women religious who lead an interfaith spirituality center, Wisdom’s Well,  have been banned by Madison Catholic Bishop Robert Morlino. They and two other women connected with Wisdom’s Well are forbidden to hold workshops or provide spiritual direction at any Catholic church in the 11-county diocese.

According to a memo sent to Madison priests, on behalf of Morlino, Sisters Maureen McDonnell and Lynn Lisbeth, both Sinsinawa Dominicans, have diverged too far from Catholic teaching.

The memo says Bishop Morlino has “grave concerns” about the women’s teachings, specifically that they “espouse certain views” flowing from such movements as “New Ageism” and “indifferentism.” More specifically the memo states that Sisters McDonnell and Lisbeth as well as is Beth O’Brien, a married mother of two and Wisdom’s Well staff member and Paula Hirschboeck, a philosophy professor at Edgewood College in Madison, who helped found Wisdom’s Well: “are not to be invited or allowed to preach, catechize, lead spiritual or prayer instructions or exercises, or to provide spiritual direction or guidance at churches, oratories or chapels within the Diocese of Madison.” No publicity materials from Wisdom’s Well are to be allowed inside parishes.

Wisdom’s Well, founded in Madison in 2006, offers workshops and retreats on topics such as nonviolence, contemplative living and Christian meditation. The center’s website says it “serves to support those who desire to grow spiritually, seek inner wisdom, and yearn for a transformative spirituality.” Its mission statement says the center is “grounded in the Christian tradition, while embracing the wisdom found in other religious traditions.”

The Madison Diocese memo does not give specific examples of things the women may have said that violate church teaching. Rather, the memo references problematic statements on the center’s website, including that the sisters embrace “the wisdom found in other religious traditions.” So much for transparency and justice in the church.

When it comes to diverging from Catholic teaching, I have “grave concerns” about Bishop Morlino. He is currently Chairman of the Board of Visitors of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the School of the Americas (SOA). For decades SOA has trained military officers from Latin America. Former SOA trained officers have been found guilty of thousands of political killings, including the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero and of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter in El Salvador.


                                                           O come, Thou Key of David, come,
                                                         And open wide our heavenly home.
                                                        Make safe the way that leads on high,
                                                               And close the path to misery.


Submit Your Mind and Will to Your Bishop

Enough Infidelity! Submit Your Mind and Will to the Pope!

Bishop Jenky of the Diocese of Peoria is now demanding it. Like a virus, the Catholic Oath of Fidelity is spreading cross the country. Arlington Diocese demanded it last summer. If you are going to be a catechist in today’s church, you must submit your mind and will to the Pope and to your bishop…to all bishops for that matter.

George Orwell just turned over in his grave.

Here is a sample form, that can be printed on nice paper, suitable for framing. The best part comes at the end.

Oath of Fidelity to the Catholic Church

I, ______________________________________________, with firm faith believe and profess each and every thing that is contained in the Symbol of Faith, namely:

The Nicene Creed

I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God,
Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.

He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

With firm faith, I also believe everything contained in the Word of God, whether written or handed down in Tradition, which the Church, either by a solemn judgment or by the ordinary and universal Magisterium, sets forth to be believed as divinely revealed.

I also firmly accept and hold each and every thing definitively proposed by the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals.

Moreover, I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate when they exercise their authentic Magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim these teachings by a definitive act.


Where is the support of US priests?

Dennis Coday in NCR reports:

The church reform group that represents about a quarter of Ireland’s Catholic priests issued a statement of support Friday for Roy Bourgeois, the U.S. Maryknoll priest that the Vatican laicization and dismissed from his order because of his support of women’s ordination.

The Association of Catholic Priests (Ireland) called on the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith “to cease this type of abuse, to restore Fr. Bourgeois to the full exercise of his ministry and to allow for open and honest discussion on issues that are of crucial importance for the future of the Church.”

“We believe that this type of action, ordered by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and implemented by the Maryknoll Order, is unjust, and ultimately counter-productive,” reads the statement from the association.

“Dismissing people because they have sincerely held views that are contrary to those of the Vatican, but which are widely shared by the Catholic faithful, will not end discussion and debate on these topics,” it says.

The Association of Catholic Priests, which was founded by eight priests two years ago, has grown to represent about 1,000 of Ireland’s some 4,000 priests. The association aims at the “full implementation of the vision and teaching of the Second Vatican Council” and a “re-structuring of the governing system of the Church,” according to the group’s constitution.


John Greenleaf responds: OK so where is the support from US priests?